Town honors 4 Port Washington women

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Taylor Sinett, Mariann Dalimonte, Julie Harnick and Kathy Levinson

Mariann Dalimonte said volunteering isn’t about writing a large check, but rather the hands-on work.

With a background raising funds for nonprofit organizations, Julie Harnick said she began volunteering to put her heart where her head was.

Taylor Sinett, who raised more than $26,000 for children’s hospitals from children’s books she had written, said it’s more important for her to go to the hospitals and read her books to the children than donate money.

And Kathy Levinson said she hopes her volunteerism inspires people to get involved in the community.

All four Port Washington women, who said the hands-on side of volunteering is more important than the financial, were named honorees for the 2017 May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor last week as part of Women’s History Month.

Dalimonte, the executive director of the Port Washington Business Improvement District, said she left her job in New York City to volunteer more in Port Washington.

Having lived in Port Washington her entire life, Dalimonte began volunteering at the John Phillip Sousa Elementary School, serving on committees in different leadership roles.

“I love Port Washington and Port Washington is a very special place,” she said. “I like to do things from the heart, not for the recognition.”

Dalimonte’s past and present volunteer work includes being the treasurer for the annual Pride in Port celebration; the vice president of communications for the Boy’s Lacrosse Booster Club; the president of the Football Booster Club; a volunteer for the SOUPer Bowl and Harbor Fest; an advisory board member for the Ed. Foundation; and work with the Peter and Jeri Dejana Foundation.

“It’s not abut getting a slap on the back,” Dalimonte said. “I always feel like you should do things from the heart. This is our community, the community where I raise my kids, and if I can make it a better place for my children and other people, then that’s what this is all about.”

Dalimonte’s Port Washington roots stretch back three generations.

“There are so many women in the community that are deserving of this and I share it with them,” Dalimonte said.

Harnick, the executive director of the Community Chest of Port Washington, has lived in Port Washington for more than 20 years, and got involved in the Parent Resource Center early, eventually becoming the executive director when her children were young.

‘‘They needed a treasurer, and I had a background in nonprofit accounting,” she said.

From there, Harnick began volunteering for the Ed. Foundation as the treasurer and the Teen Center as the president.

“Port Washington has become so important to me,” she said. “Helping this town has meant so much to me. This is really quite an amazing town filled with a lot of caring, warm-hearted people.”

Harnick is also the co-founder of PORT nonprofit and the president of the local Port Washington-Manhasset chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Harnick said she feels honored to be in the company of the women who were named to the Roll of Honor in previous years.

“I am really touched because the people who have come before me, these are really amazing women,” she said. “And life isn’t always easy and if you have a support system of friends in your hometown, they help you. They boost you up when you need help and that’s what I have here in Port Washington.”

Sinett, the youngest of the four honorees at age 17, used a picture of a weasel she had drawn as the inspiration for a children’s book she wrote in 2013.

While visiting her cousin, Casey, who was fighting ulcerative colitis, in the hospital, Sinett said she realized there was a good way to help.

She raised more than $16,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation with her book, “A Weasel on an Easel,” and more than $10,000 with her second book, “Jack on a Plaque.”

“It feels so great to be able to give back,” Sinett, a Sands Point resident, said. “I get to see the people that I impact and I love seeing that and being there with them.”

Sinett said she has been touring colleges and working on her resume but knows she wants to stick with writing.

“I am super interested in writing,” she said. “I think I would like to write in my future.”

Sinett said she is working on a third book about Taylor Swift’s cats because she loves Swift.

Levinson is the lieutenant governor of the Long Island division of Kiwanis International, training children and young members, overseeing the children’s club and builder’s club and “keeping my division going.”

“I was really moved by the act that someone would think that I deserved this kind of honor,” Levinson said. “I just believe that we should help people, and I don’t often think about awards and accolades, but just the nomination made me feel proud.”

A native New Yorker and Port Washington resident for 17 years, Levinson is now a realtor at Coldwell Banker but previously practiced psychology for 22 years.

She practices martial arts and is studying to become a fourth-degree black belt.

Levinson, who is on the board of the Port Washington Senior Center, teaches martial arts to seniors once a week.

“I think Port Washington is a fabulous town,” she said. “I didn’t grow up here but I feel like I’ve lived here my entire life. It’s a town with a heart and a center and people want to help others in all kinds of ways.”

The women will be honored at a breakfast on Wednesday at the Clubhouse at Harbor Links in Port Washington from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“North Hempstead has no shortage of inspirational women who give so much of themselves to our communities,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “We are fortunate to call these honorees part of our North Hempstead family.”

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